Bison Meatballs with Tagliatelle

Bison Meatballs with Tagliatelle

This recipe is for the meat lovers!!! But not just any meat lover…this is specifically dedicated to the bison lover.

Bison is my meat of preference, and I used it all the time in various cuts. The taste and texture are unbeatable and the health benefits from it are even better! So, naturally, it was a no-brainer that I would choose to use it in my Bison Meatballs with Tagliatelle recipe.

Now my Bison Meatballs with Tagliatelle recipe is considered a healthier take on the classic meatball recipe…and it starts with the meat. Unlike the classic, traditionally made with a veal, pork and beef chuck mix, my recipe is made with grass-fed free-roamimg bison meat, which is considered to be healthier and leaner than even traditional grass-fed beef. Despite its leanness, bison meat tends to be much more tender and tastes much richer and more savory than that of regular beef – if you haven’t tried it you must, it is incredible!

Bison Meatballs with Tagliatelle

Grass-fed, free-roaming bison meat is a great source of lean protein. In fact, due to their more muscular body structure (compared to cow cattle) and the typical practice of them roaming freely outdoors, bison meat has one of the highest protein-to-fat ratios around, especially since much of the beef cattle these days are intentionally raised to contain a little higher fat content internally than bison naturally do.

In addition to its leaner fat content, bison meat is very rich in omega-3s and important minerals such as B12, zinc and iron.

Bison Meatballs with Tagliatelle

Not only is the meat used healthier, but my sauce itself is much better for you! I opted not to use red wine or tons of olive oil, instead allowing the organic tomatoes and beautiful herbs to speak for themselves. Allowing the brightness of the sauce to remain also enabled it to better accommodate the tender, unique flavor of the bison meat.

Now don’t get me wrong, my version of meatballs with tagliatelle may be healthier; but, it does not skimp on flavor. In fact, anymore flavor would be overkill!!!

Bison Meatballs with Tagliatelle

This recipe is packed with bold fresh flavors. The sauce is delicate and bright and gives compliment to the show-stopping tender, rich and incredibly savory bison meatballs that just melt in your mouth with every bite! With all of this flavor it’s hard to believe that it can be thought of as a healthier competitor to a classic favorite – the only way to know is to try it, you’ll see what I mean 🙂

To make the mouthwatering bison meatballs in this recipe you will need grass-fed free-roam ground bison meat, dry seasoned breadcrumbs, parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino romano, eggs, almond milk, water, kosher salt and black pepper.

For the sauce you will need an onion, garlic cloves, organic tomato paste, organic crushed tomatoes (I highly recommend Muir Glen Crushed Tomatoes with Basil), water, kosher salt, black pepper, dried oregano, granulated garlic, red pepper flakes, dried bay leaves, fresh parsley, and Splenda.

Lastly, you will need a package of your favorite tagliatelle.

The first thing that you’ll want to prepare are the bison meatballs. Place all of the ingredients, with the exception of the ground bison meat, into a large mixing bowl and whisk until they are all combined. I like to pre-mix the meatball ingredients before adding the meat; that way you don’t over-mix the bison, creating meatballs that are too heavy and dense.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Add the bison and lightly fold the meat into the mixture. Set the plate aside briefly while you line a large baking sheet with foil.

At the same time heat a large 6-quart high-sided sauté pan on medium-high heat with 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil. You will use this to quickly sear and brown the meatballs before throwing them in the oven to slowly cook off.

Although searing can be optional, I highly recommend it as the browning dramatically increases the flavor of the meat AND also produces little browned bits on the bottom of the pan that add tons of depth and meaty flavor to the sauce – I promise the little extra effort is worth it!!!

Roll the bison into medium sized meatballs – I shoot for a little larger than a golf ball, which I feel bake perfectly without overcooking they way smaller meatballs do. I love when my homemade meatballs are soft, moist and pink in the middle. Place each rolled meatball onto the lined baking sheet. This recipe should produce about 22 meatballs.

In small batches, briefly brown each meatball on both sides – they will still be pretty raw on the inside as they should be. 

Use a spatula to scrape the meatballs off the bottom of the pan and to turn over to sear on a different side. The spatula will help to keep the meatballs intact and will help to alleviate the sticking – just a little trick I learned from trial and error.

Transfer the seared meatballs back to the lined baking sheet. Reduce the sauté pan heat to medium-low in preparation for the sauce.

Bake the meatballs, lightly covered with foil, in the oven for 8-10 minutes on 375 degrees F. When the meatballs come out, they should be a little undercooked – they will have a chance to finish cooking in the sauce later on. 

When completed, remove the bison meatballs from the oven and set aside.

At this time (if cooking the tagliatelle) fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add salt and the tagliatelle and cook according to package directions.

Add the finely diced onions to the pan, season with salt and pepper, cover and sauté them until they are soft and translucent.

Add the minced garlic and cook until the garlic releases an aroma, about 60-90 seconds.

Open the 2 cans of tomato paste and scoop the contents into the pan. Sauté the paste for 4-5 minutes in order to cook out and brown the paste.

Pour the can of crushed tomatoes into the sauté pan, followed by the water and stir to distribute evenly.

Sprinkle in the dried oregano, kosher salt, black pepper, granulated garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add the bay leaves to the sauce and mix together.

Lastly, add the Splenda (which helps to counteract the tomatoes’ acidity in the sauce) and chopped parsley. Stir to combine.

Turn the heat down to simmer, and pour the meatballs, along with their juices, into the sauté pan. Gently fold the meatballs into the sauce, taking care not to break them, as they are incredibly delicate, tender and moist!!!

Bison Meatballs with Tagliatelle

Cover the meatballs with the sauce to help keep them moist and incorporte their flavor into the sauce.

Partially cover the sauté pan with the lid and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the meatballs are pink in the middle (medium doness).

Pour the sauce and meatballs over the cooked tagliatelle individually or add the cooked tagliatelle to the sauté pan, gently mixing everything together and serve family-style.

Bison Meatballs with Tagliatelle

Another way to eat this rich, savory and healthy dish is to serve it in a panini pressed low-carb wrap alongside some low fat mozzarella or provolone cheese.

Bison Meatballs with Tagliatelle

Anyway you choose to eat it, you will fall in love with this recipe and its deliciousness…finding ways to incorporate it into your monthly repertoire!

Enjoy!

Bison Meatballs with Tagliatelle
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 22 meatballs
 
Ingredients
  • For the Meatballs:
  • 3 pounds grass-fed free-roam ground bison (Brand: Nature's Rancher)
  • ¾ cup dry seasoned breadcrumbs (Brand: 4C seasoned breadcrumbs)
  • ¼ cup parmigiano-reggiano, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons pecorino romano, freshly grated
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup almond milk (Brand: Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk)
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 small yellow onions, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 - 6 ounce cans organic tomato paste
  • 1 - 28 ounce can organic crushed tomatoes with basil (Brand: Muir Glen Crushed Tomatoes with Basil)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¾ tablespoon granulated garlic
  • ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon Splenda
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Preparing bison meatballs - Place all ingredients, with the exception of the ground bison meat, into a large mixing bowl and whisk until well mixed.
  3. Lightly fold bison meat into the mixture until evenly comined. Set plate aside briefly while you line a large baking sheet with foil.
  4. Heat a large 6 quart high-sided sauté pan on medium-high heat with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil.
  5. Roll bison into medium sized meatballs - I shoot for slightly larger than a golf ball, which I feel bake perfectly without overcooking. Place each rolled meatball onto the lined baking sheet.
  6. In small batches, briefly brown each meatball on both sides - they will still be pretty raw on the inside. Use a spatula to scrape the meatballs off pan bottom and roll over to sear on a different side. The spatula will help to keep the meatballs intact and helps alleviate the sticking.
  7. Transfer seared meatballs back to the lined baking sheet. Reduce sauté pan heat to medium-low.
  8. Bake meatballs, lightly covered with foil, in the oven for 8-10 minutes on 375 degrees F. When the meatballs come out, they should be a little undercooked as they will finish cooking in the sauce later on. When completed, remove from the oven and set aside.
  9. At this time (if cooking tagliatelle) fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the salt and tagliatelle and cook according to package directions.
  10. Add the diced onions to the sauté pan, season with salt and pepper, cover and sauté them until soft and translucent. (5 mins)
  11. Add the minced garlic and cook until the garlic releases an aroma, about 60-90 seconds.
  12. Open the 2 cans of tomato paste and scoop contents into the pan. Sauté tomato paste for 4-5 minutes in order to cook out and brown the paste.
  13. Pour the can of crushed tomatoes into sauté pan, followed by the water and stir to distribute evenly.
  14. Sprinkle in the dried oregano, kosher salt, black pepper, granulated garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add the bay leaves to the sauce and mix together.
  15. Add Splenda (which helps to counteract the tomatoes' acidity in the sauce) and chopped parsley. Stir to combine.
  16. Turn heat down to simmer, and pour the meatballs, along with their juices, into the sauté pan. Gently fold the meatballs into the sauce, taking care not to break them, as they are incredibly tender, delicate and moist!!!
  17. Partially cover the sauté pan with its lid and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the meatballs are pink in the middle (medium doness).
  18. Serve immediately or store in airtight continer in the refrigerator for up to one week. For longterm storage place in airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.

 

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